The 2011/12/28 at 10:14
Alexandre T. Analis
Following law studies at Augsburg University, Bavaria (Germany), Alexandre Grellier, 40 years old, began his career at Commerzbank in 1998 before joining Lehman Brothers in 2000. He began collaborating with Data Room Services in 2003 before becoming its CEO on 1 January 2005.
Commerce International: In what circumstances was the company Data Room Services set up?
Alexandre Grellier: “It was my partner Jan Hoffmeister who cofounded Data Room Services about ten years ago. From the outset, we positioned ourselves as a support company for facilitating transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. In 2003, Data Room Services launched a product that was unique in Europe: the digital data room. In 2006, we became the European number one in real-estate transactions. Today, the company is present via subsidiaries in Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom since 1 January. We also work in conjunction with resellers and service providers in Spain, Italy, Greece, Peru and Singapore.”
What is a digital data room?
A. G.: “Digitised documents are stored on an ultra-secure server, accessible remotely by teams of auditors. Access is subject to strict rules on consultation, routing, printing and document saving. This method is economical as it limits travelling, and secure because it allows strict monitoring of document consultation conditions. Finally, it is quick for two reasons: firstly, every document is displayed in real time; secondly, it allows different teams to simultaneously consult information in the data room. In concrete terms, documents are placed online, by our clients or our teams, on our servers. Every document is marked by an indelible digital watermark; as a result, when we click on it, data such as the surname and first name of the user or the time, down to the second, when the file is opened, appears.”
What are the advantages of your solution compared to those of your competitors?
A. G.: “We offer consultation of documents in real time, that is, we guarantee speed of use and an extremely high level of security. The second advantage lies in its ease of use. Indeed, our data room was designed by persons not from the IT domain, so it is very intuitive. Our clients wish to work instantaneously with their data rooms without having to read a 200-page manual! Finally, the editing of reports allows for meticulous traceability of data room activity.”
Who are your clients?
A. G.: “We work with big groups as well as SMEs-SMIs and even VSEs, for we are convinced that every company should have its own data room. This is logical given that every company, whatever its size, has permanent obligations with regard to banks, investors, administrations, etc. While SMEs-SMIs and VSEs represent almost three-quarters of our clients, it should be said that very large groups also place their trust in us.”
How do you promote all your activities?
A. G.:“We communicate through our sales teams as well as through the biggest consultancy firms on the market. We also communicate in the specialised press and are present at numerous trade fairs. Our best publicity however comes from our results, recognised worldwide. We recently received the Top Innovator Prize in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as well as the prestigious European Data Room Provider 2011 in Milan (Italy).”
What are your best security guarantees?
A. G.: “Naturally our servers have ISO 9001 and ISO 27000 certification and their security has led to many banks using our data room. In addition, our servers are based in Frankfurt, Germany; we are of course subject to European laws on data protection which are extremely strict, unlike the case in the United States where such laws are non-existent.”